Ne-Yo, who is a Grammy Award winning singer may be best known for his R&B hits, but the singer may or may not be better known for the hit songs he’s written. Ne-Yo, whose real name is Shaffer Smith has proven himself to be a high-profile songwriter. He has written songs for Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, New Kids on the Block and countless others. Here’s a few songs penned by Ne-Yo himself.
That Girl– Marques Houston (2003): Although it was the second single for Marques’ debut solo album. The song was originally Ne-Yo’s that he’d written and recorded for his Columbia debut. However, Ne-Yo was dropped from the label and the song found itself a new home with Marques. Despite that, the tracks lyrics grabbed the ears of record labels and birthed him into a songwriter.
Spotlight– Jennifer Hudson (2008): Riding the wave of her praised performance in “Dream Girls” Smith asked her to perform a duet on his sophomore album Because of You. Without so much as a record deal to her name, Hudson flexed her vocals on “Leaving Tonight,” as he later returned the favor on her debut album with the leading single “Spotlight.” The song earned two Grammy nominations in 2009 for Best R&B Song & Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Stay or Go– Monica (2010): As the former teen singer Monica was gearing up for her sixth studio album Still Standing Ne-Yo penned a track on the certified gold album. The song speaks about a relationship that’s in the balance, as she forces her partner to make a decision if he’s going to stay or exit the relationship.
Take a Bow– Rihanna (2008): When it was time for Rihanna to drop the re-release of her third album Good Girl Gone Bad. Ne-Yo was right there to offer her what would become her third number one single, “Take a Bow” the same way he did with her prior platinum single “Unfaithful,” which became her third top-ten single. The song tells how she’s not willing to savage her relationship with her cheating ex-boyfriend. Ne-Yo even pulled a moved by one of his idols, Prince and released a live version of his rendition of the song. The pair also have another platinum selling song, the fan adored duet “Hate That I Love You” also written by Smith.
Irreplaceable– Beyonce (2006): The biggest song of Beyonce’s career is played on repeat by every female following a breakup and courtesy of Ne-Yo’s pen. “Irreplaceable” is the third release off Bey’s sophomore album B’Day. The song collected her a string of awards, and was also nominated for record of the year by the Grammy Academy that year. Aside from that it spent ten consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard charts, and went certified double platinum; later moving over 4.6 million copies worldwide. All from it’s catchy hook “you must not know bout me, you must not know bout me.” Sadly, it’ll be the last time Ne-Yo would have written music from the mega star.
Let Me Love You– Mario (2004): The song that pretty much started it all. After writing “Let Me Love You” and the success following, it plunged Ne-Yo into a much sought-after songwriter. The track went two times platinum, and became the eighth most successful single of the decade. It later earned him his very own record deal as an artist and not just a songwriter.
Not only has he lent his talents to the Pop and R&B world, but he’s been known to pen up some hits for rappers as well. Rappers too often seek after Smith and turn to him for an impressionable hook on their songs.
50 Cent– Baby By Me (2009): Fifty was trying his best to make a comeback musically with his fourth studio album Before I Self Destruct. With any comeback, there needs to be a strong leading single and that’s where “Baby By Me” comes into play. There are two versions of the song that was released back to back. One features an unknown singer named Jovan Dais, and the other features Ne-Yo on the hook. Jackson told Sirius XM Radio that “Ne-Yo lightened it up a little bit and made it ready for radio…I gotta sift through and see what I’m gonna put on the album.” Ultimately, Ne-Yo’s version made the album cut.
Young Jeezy– Leave You Alone (2012): Producer and rapper Warren G. showcased his talents for Young Jeezy’s fifth single off his Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambitionproject. However, Ne-Yo lent his vocals to the track’s hook and appeared in the music video. The track charted, but made the most impression on the Billboard Rap chart at #2 before Warren G. remixed it on “No One Could Do It Better” mixtape.
Fabolous– Makes Me Better (2007): arguably one of Fab’s fan favorite songs is accompanied by Ne-Yo on the hook. It was rumored that the two were planning on doing a joint album like Jay-Z and R.Kelly did. Too bad the idea never came intuition.
Ghostface Killah– Back Like That (2006): cited as his first time working with a rapper. Ghostface was a fan of Ne-Yo’s and wanted to work with him, and from that came “Back Like That” and its remix featuring Kanye West.
Jay Z– Hollywood (2006): This song is courtesy of Jay’s ninth studio album Kingdom Come and was composed by Ne-Yo and Jay-Z both. However, the track’s vocals are courtesy of Jay’s consort Beyonce, who later remixed the song into a versions of her own. It’s rumored that there’s a version of the song with Ne-Yo’s vocals, before later being replaced. Maybe it’s a reference track or not, but Smith is featured on “Minority Report” off the same album.